Please identify and summarise recent literature on non-political drivers of violence. Any insights on middle-income country fragility/conflict would be particularly useful.
A growing body of literature looks at non-political drivers of violence. These, often inter-related factors, include:
- Climate change and environmental degradation: There is limited
evidence to suggest that there is a causal link between climate change
and environmental degradation and violence. However, climate change
can exacerbate existing fragile situations leading to outbreaks of
- Urbanisation: Many studies suggest that there is a link between
urbanisation and violence. However, the extent of this connection has
not been established, as there are many rapidly growing cities, like
Tokyo, Japan, that have very low levels of crime and violence.
- Demographic pressures: Youth bulges are often associated with
increases in violence and conflict. However, population growth alone
does not lead to violence and conflict. Rather, associated pressures
on health and social services, as well as a lack of opportunities for
young people can lead to outbreaks of violence.
- Organised crime: In some countries organised crime is responsible for
more violent deaths than civil conflict. Organised crime is therefore
more directly linked to violence than the other factors discussed in
this paper. Political drivers of violence and organised crime
sometimes overlap, as a number of rebel groups also engage in criminal
- Technology: While new technology is generally associated with positive
impacts in fragile states, access to the internet and social media can
also lead to violence by making information available that fuels
discontent among disaffected citizens. This effect was witnessed
during the Arab Spring. However, access to technology alone does not
lead to violence, rather it can exacerbate existing political and
economic drivers of violence.
Strachan, A. Non-political drivers of violence (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1135). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2014) 9 pp.